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Tommy Walsh picked for Saints debut

Former Kerry footballer gets his shot in the St Kilda senior side.

Image: INPHO/Getty Images

FORMER KERRY FOOTBALLER Tommy Walsh has earned a place in St Kilda’s senior starting line-up for the first time.

The Tralee man has been selected in the Saints’ NAB Cup side that will take on Essendon and the Brisbane Lions this Friday night.

The 23-year-old moved to Australia at the end of 2009 when he was rookie-listed by the Saints.

Saints star Brendan Goddard says he islooking forward to playing alongside the powerfully-built Walsh in this week’s games.

“Tommy has come along in leaps and bounds” he said.  ”He has picked up the game really well. He is a great athlete. It is going to be a great experience for him.”

“He gets the chance to get some senior footy under his belt and enhance his skills.”

Goddard watched Walsh closely last year and said he was a quick learner who was becoming increasingly comfortable with the Australian game.

“The easiest thing is kicking the footy but the hard thing he found was reading the game because it’s not natural to him. I think we’ll see him play in defence because he’s got everything in front of him,” he said.

“I watched a couple of games at VFL level last year and he’s very impressive. His body work defensively on forwards is very impressive,” he told the AFL website.

No Saints

Walsh spent last season working with Sandringham, the team’s junior affiliate in the Victorian Football League, aware that it would take time to learn the ropes of a new sport before making the progression to the first team.

As suggested by TheScore last week, Walsh has benefited from the omission of a number of Saints first-teamers from next week’s squad following a series of pre-season controversies.

Zac Dawson, Rhys Stanley, Jack Steven and Paul Cahill have all been ruled out after the club found that they had misused alcohol and prescription drugs during a pre-season trip to New Zealand.

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